The 2021 Session of the General Assembly is winding down. We only have a week left in the regular session, which is anything but regular this year. We are in a pandemic, and we had to go through extraordinary means simply to meet for the normal 46 days. [Read more…]
The 2021 Session is rapidly drawing to a close. Last week we reached crossover, and now the Senate is only considering House bills and the budget. The House of Delegates is considering the budget as well, together with the Senate bills.
Both the House and Senate will adopt versions of the budget today. While preliminary, the Senate budget begins the process of restoring more of the mental health funding that was lost during the pandemic. You will recall that the Governor unallotted a couple billion dollars of spending once the virus wreaked havoc on our economy. Some of the things that I have been working on for a long time, like a loan forgiveness program for mental health professionals and discharge planning for jails with high numbers of inmates with mental health issues, were unallotted. We worked hard to get that vital spending back into the budget.
Other matters, like pay raises for state employees and teachers and funding for school divisions throughout Virginia, are included in the budget, as well as restoring the dental benefit for adult Medicaid patients. [Read more…]
The week leading up to crossover is always busy, although it usually lands on a Tuesday. This year it lands on a Friday – just one more unique feature of this session. While many hot topic issues have been discussed this week from the abolition of the death penalty to the legalization of marijuana, I want to focus this week on our public schools. [Read more…]
Marijuana, Bikes, and More
This most unusual of legislative sessions is going quickly. We are nearing the crossover, the deadline for the Senate to act on senate bills and the House of Delegates to act on house bills. It’s crunch time as the Senate completes work on bills and get them to the House for consideration. I want to report on some of the more significant actions.
As I’ve written in the space before, one of the big policies under consideration is the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. [Read more…]